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Benghazi, Libya (CNN) -- The head of the interim government in eastern Libya pleaded Wednesday for the international community to move quickly to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, declaring that any delay would result in more casualties.
"It has to be immediate action," Mustafa Abdul Jalil told CNN in an exclusive interview in this eastern opposition stronghold. "The longer the situation carries on, the more blood is shed. That's the message that we want to send to the international community.
In an "urgent" banner on state television, the government said its General Administration for Criminal Investigation was offering 500,000 Libyan dinars ($410,900 U.S.) "for whoever captures and hands over" the "agent spy" Abdul Jalil, and "another offer of 200,000 Libyan dinars ($164,300 U.S.) for whoever offers information leading to his actual arrest."
The move to target Abdul-Jalil came as Gadhafi fought to advance against rebels who have taken control of many parts of the country. On Wednesday, pro-Gadhafi forces launched fresh attacks on Ras Lanuf, using planes and heavy artillery in an effort to retake the eastern oil city.
Opposition fighters, armed with anti-aircraft guns and Soviet rifles, were outgunned by the heavily armed pro-Gadhafi forces, but many opposition fighters were still in the city, willing to battle to prevent Gadhafi from crushing any part of the uprising against him.
CNN's Ben Wedeman reported that an intense artillery bombardment was under way on the western edge of Ras Lanuf, where ambulance after ambulance wails up to the emergency ward at Ras Lanouf's only hospital.
The normally cocky opposition fighters showed the strain of a battle in which they are seriously outgunned, their spirit challenged by the Libyan government forces' artillery, rockets and aircraft.
Gadhafi has shown no sign of giving up. On Tuesday night on state television, he again insisted that youths misled and drugged by al Qaeda were to blame for the fighting. "For them, everybody's their enemy," Gadhafi said. "They know nothing other than killing."
The speech was recorded earlier Tuesday when Gadhafi addressed a youth group of tribal supporters, urging them to defend Libya from those who envy its standard of living.
"They want to take your petrol," he said. "This is what America, this is what the French, those colonialists, want."
But Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, said implementing a no-fly zone is a complicated issue.
"There's no assurance that the imposition of even a no-fly zone would make a decisive difference in the battle," Burns said. "Gadhafi has ground forces. He has artillery, he has a mercenary army. That's 95 percent of the fighting under way in Libya."
The head of the U.S. Marine Corps told lawmakers Tuesday that a no-fly zone would do little to thwart Libya's helicopters, which he called "their greatest threat."
A no-fly zone would typically be enforced by fighter jets whose speed and altitude make it difficult to target helicopters, which move low and slow, said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos.
For its part, Libya said it was not misusing its air force. Any no-fly zone would be tantamount to an act of war, Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Karim said Tuesday.
The military, he said, "are taking purely defensive positions; they are not taking offensive ones." He said the Libyan government has asked for international monitors to verify that assertion.
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- The West wants to 'divide country and take oil', dictator claims
- Thirteen-and-a-half hour barrage of bombs on Zawiyah
- Snipers given orders to 'shoot anything that moves'
- 'We want the international community to support a no-fly zone', says Clinton